With every season, it becomes more difficult to argue against Nick Saban as the greatest coach in college football history. The sport has changed in major ways since he took over at Michigan State in 1995, but he’s managed to adapt and win seven national titles over the last 17 years, and plenty of success before breaking through for his first title at LSU.
Saban appeared at SEC Media Days today, and was asked exactly how he thinks he’s maintained such a ridiculously high level of success. He says it comes down to a desire to win, and a culture that allows you to get there.
“I think that’s simple. You’ve got to win,” the Alabama head coach said, via Saturday Down South. “So what does it take to win? I think that answers the question better than anything.
“I think you have to have culture in your organization, which probably comes from the mindset of the people in your organization to have goals and aspirations for what they want to accomplish and what they want to do – and I’m talking about players as well here – and they have to have a good understanding of what does it take to accomplish those goals and aspirations to be the best that they can be, and how do they have to edit their behavior to be able to do that and can they have the discipline, self-discipline on a daily basis to execute and do the things they need to do, make the choices and decisions they need to make, so that they can be the best that they can be?”
— Jacques Doucet (@JacquesDoucet) July 21, 2021
Saban went into detail about what that “culture” means for his players. Given Alabama’s incredible recruiting success, he’s clearly figured out the equation here.
“I think what we’ve always tried to do for our players is create more value for the players by how we use personal development, academic support, career development, the way we develop football players to create a successful culture for them to see the players before them, in terms of what they bought into, what they did that helped them be successful so the next player has the best chance to buy in to the same things and to that culture so they have the best chance to be successful and the best chance to develop personally, academically, and athletically,” Saban said. “That’s how we try to win, but I think it’s probably good players, good coaches, supportive administration that gives you the tools that you need to be able to continue to provide the resources to help the players be successful are all probably key ingredients of that.”
There’s no denying the success. Nick Saban has a 256–65–1 overall record, with a 124-27 SEC record between LSU and Alabama.